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Poster: Hg80 Date: Jan 28, 2012 10:45am
Forum: feature_films Subject: "Sundays and Cybele" PD status

"Sundays and Cybele" ["Les Dimanches de Ville d'Avray"] [1962]

Directed by Serge Bourguignon. Pierre [Hardy Krüger] is a French Indochina War veteran who is consumed by guilt after having accidentally killed an innocent Vietnamese child when crash-landing his stricken plane. His nurse-girlfriend Madeleine [Nicole Courcel] lives with him on a low-key but potentially romantic basis. Pierre then sees Cybèle [Patricia Gozzi] in distress as she is being dropped off at a small orphanage by an obviously unloving father. Eventually, he pretends to be the girl's father, which allows her to get away from the locked orphanage, and he spends time with her every Sunday, for months. Both are lonely, childlike, and in need of a supportive friend. A doctor, who has a romantic interest in the nurse, finds out about the ongoing relationship, and out of self-interest interprets Pierre's relationship with Cybèle as sexual. He passes his imagined conclusions on to the police, who also misread the intentions of the young man. Pierre has nothing to give Cybèle for Christmas, so he takes up her earlier joking challenge to bring her the metal rooster on top of a Gothic church near the orphanage. Being a former pilot, he musters the nerve to climb the 300 foot steeple, and uses his knife as a tool to unscrew and bring down the rooster. He approaches the girl, carrying the metal rooster and his knife. However, at this point, the police arrive and shoot him dead to "protect" the child, whom they think is in danger. Cybèle, who had fallen asleep waiting to meet Pierre for their Christmas together in the snow covered park's gazebo, is devastated by witnessing the pointless killing of her friend.

It won the 1962 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.


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Poster: larus Date: Jan 29, 2012 1:55am
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: 'Sundays and Cybele' PD status

I haven't seen any sign of an original registration or a renewal with the US copyright office. Moreover, the film opened in the US and France simultaneously, so it would be exempted from copyright restoration under GATT.

However, the film is an adaptation of a book, which remains under copyright in the US:
Type of Work: Text
Registration Number / Date: RE0000308644 / 1986-11-05
Renewal registration for: AFO000024776 / 1958-02-15
Title: Les Dimanches de ville D’Avray. By Bernard Eschasseriaux.
Copyright Claimant: Bernard Eschasseriaux (A)
Variant title: Les Dimanches de ville D’Avray
Names: Eschasseriaux, Bernard

Furthermore, Columbia Pictures acquired rights to the book in 2000:
Type of Work: Recorded Document
Document Number: V3471D783
Date of Recordation: 2001-07-16
Entire Copyright Document: V3471 D783 P1-3
Date of Execution: as of 30Aug00
Title: Les dimanches de ville d’avray & 1 other title.
Party 1: Bernard Grasset (now known as Grasset et Fasquelle)
Party 2: Columbia Pictures, a division of Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc.
List of titles:
001 Les dimanches de ville d'avray; novel / By Bernard Eschasseriaux.
002 Sundays and cybele; motion picture/book.
Names: Grasset, Bernard
Grasset et Fasquelle
Columbia Pictures
Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. Columbia Pictures.

Similarly to what happened with It's a wonderful life or Charade, this appears an out-of-copyright film which can't be distributed because the underlying book/story rights are controlled by someone who intends to be exclusive distributors.

This post was modified by larus on 2012-01-29 09:55:19

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Poster: skybandit Date: Jan 29, 2012 11:55am
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: 'Sundays and Cybele' PD status

"The Last Man on Earth" is PD, while Matheson's book "I Am Legend" is still under copyright...and still being remade, much to the chagrin of CGI haters like myself.

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Poster: larus Date: Jan 30, 2012 1:11am
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: 'Sundays and Cybele' PD status

The last man on earth is a slightly different case. The remakes were made by Warner Bros, which bought the film rights from Lippert around 1970 for this specific purpose. I would venture to guess that there is a clause in the transfer contract that prevents Warner from trying to control the distribution of the original film.

In Sundays and Cybele's case, Columbia Pictures appears to be the original theatrical distributor of the film, so they probably have an exclusive licensing agreement to distribute the film in the US. Consequently, Sony Pictures (a descendant of Columbia Pictures) would have bought the US book and film rights to reinforce their claim to be the sole authorized distributor.

This being said, I have neither a legal nor a film background, so additional input from better informed posters (Video-Cellar?) is welcome.